Well Christmas is but a memory and spring still seems a way off yet. The dull damp weather can be depressing enough without the current economic climate, the strikes, world politics, and environmental crisis looming. It’s no surprise then to discover that in the last 3 years mental health issues have increased. Whilst gardening isn’t a miracle cure research has shown that whether you’ve got a large garden, or small garden, you can still reap the benefits that getting green-fingered can bring.
As well as good exercise one of the reasons researchers believe it may be beneficial is that although the world around us may be chaotic, we can bring some sense of order to the garden and take back some control. It’s defiantly satisfying to look out on a weeded vegetable patch, or a flower bed. At a time when everything in life can seem out of control, it’s good to find something to get a grip on. As I have said before your outside space is yours to do exactly what you like with it, and a great way to feel more in control in the current climate.
And, plants don’t judge. Plants can be nurtured and cared for by anyone, young or old without passing judgement. While gardening is a great solo activity, it also a wonderful opportunity for bonding with your family, neighbours and fellow Garden Club members. Gardening has special benefits for children too. As well as being a lot of fun, early exposure to dirt has been linked to several health benefits, from reducing allergies to autoimmune diseases.
So, while it’s still wet and miserable why not take control and plan your future activities in the garden for this year. Do some research and draw up a bedding plan, get the tools and supplies assembled for that project you keep meaning to start and draw up an action plan, or browse the seed catalogues (Dobbies catalogue with discounts available from the Garden Club) and plan your sowing. Why not involve other member of the family young or old. Children love planting a few seeds and seeing them grow, and a lovely activity to do together.
So don’t just sit there, get to it.
Other jobs for February:
- Divide and plant bulbs such as snowdrops and Aconites that need planting in the green to increase your stock. Don’t forget to go to the Falkenham Church open day to view their snowdrops too.
- Winter prune Wisterias. Cutting back stems to two or three buds to tidy it up before the growing season and to ensure the leaves will not obscure the later flowers. With older plants severe pruning may be necessary to remove old growth, branches crossing over or protruding outwards too much, or if you need to maintain the structure holding the plant.
- Also prune buddleia hard to the base to keep them under control
- Transplant deciduous shrubs growing in the wrong place whilst they are still dormant.
- Give winter heathers a light trim after flowering, but like lavenders do not cut into the old wood
On the allotment:
- Prepare the soil for your early sowings in March
- Start indoor sowings of tomatoes in a propagator and brussels sprouts, leeks onions and spinach under cover to get them of to an early start.
Regards and happy planning Debbie